Support for parents is the key to tackling pupil aggression in schools

Sep 10, 2014 by

More than half of teachers face hostility in schools – from verbal insults to threats. It’s time to look at the cause of these problems rather than playing the blame game

The findings of the latest survey on pupil behaviour are all too familiar. According to a poll of more than 1,500 teachers by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), more than half of teachers in state schools have faced aggression from pupils in the last year, and more than a quarter have experienced it from parents or carers.

Of those experiencing aggression, 84% said they had been verbally insulted and 70% said they had been intimidated or threatened, while almost half said they had suffered physical violence – most commonly pushing and shoving, but sometimes being attacked with an object such as furniture, and being kicked and punched.

It’s a depressing picture, even despite the fact that teachers were evenly divided over whether pupil behaviour has deteriorated in the past two years, and less than half believe the problem has worsened over the last 10. ATL general secretary, Mary Bousted, described the findings as shocking, and added: “Although the vast majority of students are well-behaved and a pleasure to teach, poor behaviour is now a daily reality for most staff.”

The ATL, like other unions, carries out surveys like this regularly – often because members raise the issue of behaviour, or simply to ensure the public remains aware of the challenges staff face while simultaneously managing the government’s latest exam and curriculum changes.

So what is the government’s position on pupil behaviour? The latest official guidance, published by former education secretary Michael Gove in February this year, issued schools with a handy checklist of potential sanctions they could use to discipline unruly pupils. Litter picking, weeding the school grounds, loss of privileges and that old favourite, writing lines, were all listed, to tight smiles of gratitude in staff rooms.

via Support for parents is the key to tackling pupil aggression in schools | Teacher Network | Guardian Professional.

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